Good cardiovascular health can knock six years off your biological age, says a team from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City
The researchers tested the American Heart Association’s Essential 8 checklist and the effects of sticking to it.
To take care of the heart and blood vessels, which are linked to many diseases, adopt the Essential 8 habits: healthy sleep, not smoking, regular physical activity, healthy diet, healthy body weight, and healthy blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.
The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia, examined 6,500 adults from varying backgrounds and found that sticking to the Essential 8 could significantly extend life and reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other age-related diseases.
On average, participants with the highest Life’s Essential 8 score tested six years younger biologically than their actual age.
“Reduced biologic aging is not just associated with lower risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, it is also associated with longer life and lower risk of death,” said study senior author Dr. Nour Makarem.
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“We found that higher cardiovascular health is associated with decelerated biological aging, as measured by phenotypic (biological) age. We also found a dose-dependent association – as heart health goes up, biological aging goes down.
“Greater adherence to all Life’s Essential 8 metrics and improving your cardiovascular health can slow down your body’s aging process and have a lot of benefits down the line.”
Results showed that this worked both ways, and those with poor cardiovascular health aged faster.
The average actual age of those with high cardiovascular health was 41, yet their average biological age was 36; and the average actual age of those who had low cardiovascular health was 53, though their average biological age was 57.
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They came to this conclusion using participant’s actual age plus the results of nine blood markers for metabolism, inflammation and organ function.
Former president of the American Heart Association Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones said, “These findings help us understand the link between chronological age and biological age and how following healthy lifestyle habits can help us live longer.
Researchers will study the impact of cardiovascular health on aging over time.
“Everyone wants to live longer, yet more importantly, we want to live healthier longer so we can really enjoy and have good quality of life for( as many years as possible.”
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